So we left Trujillo early in the morning to see if we could make it to Huaraz by, at the latest early afternoon. Nik continues to bump-start his motorcycle..in traffic, in garages, or wherever else might be necessary to keep the bugger going. The plan was to get to the shortcut (HAH) and gun it up from there to the pass into the Andes, just for a short detour and a beautiful scenic ride. Well, one can never receive both wishes. The shortcut we took looked a little like this on Google maps:
We were told it was a mining shortcut that would cut across the river a little ways up. Problem was it wasnt quite the perfect pavement we were used to. The rocky dirt led us through some pretty unique dry rocky mountain terrain, far enough until Niks tire bit the dust, pardon pun. At least this time it was his front one. I fretted, thinking he had a tubeless tire, but thank god its so much easier to pry off. An hour in the desert and we had his bike good to go (thankfully we carried a spare tube). Minor problem, we´ll still make it to Huaraz today!
The road continued along the river for a good 40 kilometres. It was scenic, but so was the other side....that had the perfect pavement. So much for shortcut, as I watched cars vanish into the horizon on the other side as we steadily paced along at 50 kph. FINALLY! A BRIDGE!
So on the other side we were, zipping along as speedily as ever, when I gunned through a checkpoint. Oops. They kept us there for 20 minutes checking all our documents, and told us Huaraz was 5 hours away. Lots of dirt. Yikes, its 11:20.
This is the shitty part.
We took a left, following the nice pavement, instead of off'roading it. Theres no way a main road to Huaraz can be really badly unpaved dirt..right?
40 kilometres up the hill later, we realize the mistake. However...40 kilometres in a straight line, up a hill is one thing. This was 2 and a half..almost 3 hours. It was 120 kilometres of winding road until we realized our mistake with my shitty map and whoever stole my damn compass can go to hell.
Disappointment at its maximum. Realizing were in Cabanas instead of Huaraz, and what looks so short on the map is so far in reality. I swear the people in these mountains had never seen a tourist or passer'by before, we were in no mans land. This..my friends is when I instinctively knew it was more straight through canyons:
OK, so the ride wasnt too bad, it had its fun parts, but back down we were...at 4 o clock, ready to fly through this mountain pass to as close to Huaraz as possible.
Get to the cut off, and left turn. Dirt road shouldnt be too bad. DO NOT GO TO HUARAZ!!! I BEG YOU!! Unless you kill your bike or have some reason to be there, don´t rush through it like we did. If your stopping to see some sites good for you, otherwise, stick desert. This road is pure hell, from Santa to Huallanca and Casca. Mind you, take a look at the pics and it is magnificent. Nik says it was one of his favourite scenic drives. But the road took its toll on our bikes. My chain strecthed continually, fell off at one point. But at least they survived. It began getting dark and after 3 hours of 30'40 kph and covered head to toe in dust and dirt, we had to call it quits in a tiny little town in the mountains. Cant remember what its called, it didn´t have a hotel, so we stayed in someones house for 2.50 american each. Dinner was another 2.50, a welcoming present after the damned price of gas empties our wallets as fast as the klr´s empty their tanks. The room was scary though, no bathroom, no nothing. Slept in our dirty clothes and got up super early to finish the ride. So the day started with more dirt, more dogs chasing us, and more bumpy roads. After an eternity of tunnels and chasms and gorges, we crept back onto pavement and gunned it to Huaraz. Once the speeds reached 90 again, we made it to Huaraz in no time. We wanted to see one of the great Lagunas on the mountaintop, but after so much dirt, we couldnt take anymore. We ate lunch in Huaraz, started feeling the high altitude effects, and decided to try and make it as far as possible to Lima.
|The road side fix, without a distraction in the world|
|The only thing bigger than me in Peru is a cactus!|
|You hope there isn't traffic on the other side of these tunnels|
|This is how the locals get their exercise...everyday|
|This is how we test our skills...unwillingly|
|Even though it was sharp rocky dirt, the views made it 1/10th worth the drive|
|Case in point! Uh oh something else bigger than me :(|
|Escuintla Guatemala has nothing on this place|
|Sadness with a beautiful view|
|DO NOT FALL! Watch the roads at all times...because its an 8 second free fall, tested.|
|More fantastic views|
|Seriously, must pay full attention to the roads at all times...Bolivia death road has nothing on this!|
|There were tons of these super cool tunnels|
|I took a chance and made it off alive|
|Here come the white caps and the frozen fingers|
|Our only pic of a local and it cost me a soles....and she still nearly refused a picture...I'm telling you, everyones out to rip you off|
|The highest point we've been to so far! Even though it doesn't look like it|
A huge rush across the Andes and back down led us back to the desert and right into Lima!!!! We actually made it 580 kilometres that day. Another run in with the police, under false pretenses...Nik running a toll booth when the tolls are free for us anyway, proceeded to bring a cop over to us and fail an attempt to extort 50 from Nik. Also another scarcity of gasoline. Peru, you have to put more gas stations around in the desert, or at least fill up the ones that are there, instead of getting our hopes up and making us worry about the next 15 kilometres. I expect more of this.
So anyway, were in Lima, at sunset. Dammit, we did it again, NO BIG CITIES IN THE DARK. No big deal, we´ll stick to the highway and hit up a hotel on the side. Lima is huge....when I say huge...imagine riding around for 3 HOURS LOOKING FOR A HOTEL. There is little I can say for Lima expect that I hate it. It has also made me pretty much hate Peru overall. Big words, but Lima is nasty. The traffic is nasty, the people are nasty (rude, unfriendly), the cars attempt to run you over at all times, Ive bumped two already cutting me off, and the scamming begins.
We were tired, we were nearly arguing looking for a hotel, and we´re a few blocks short of pitching tent on the side of the road. After passing and stopping at countless "hostals" which are nothing more than sex hotels (I suppose the prostitution in Lima is extravagant, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE) we decided to get to the airport...they had to have a hotel there. The Ramada, Costa Del Sol. Cool. Very nice. 200 Soles. Expensive, but well take it. "No sir, thats American". Are you kidding me. Its a airport hotel with nothing more to offer than a normal one. Forget it. Onwards we travel, aimlessly. No ones willing to point us in the right direction, we finally make it to Centro Historico, and find a hotel. Full. More directions leading nowhere. We FINALLY found a hotel, a rather nice one, a few minutes later tucked into a street, for 70 soles, 13.00 a piece each.
Ok, ok, complain more Rob. Then comes today.
The food is cheap, thankfully. 2.50 will get you breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So less than 10.00 a day on food. We eat, and rush to hit up the dealership to change my chain and get Niks bike running. An hour and a bit later.....lost again, this city is too massive and oddly shaped, and we get to the Sales centre. The new chain. 400 soles. WHAT THE HELL. Thats over 120.00. WHATEVER, it has to be done, bite the bullet. We get over to the mechanic without getting lost, they take the chain off and somehow before I didn´t realize the teeth in the sprocket were completely bent. Mustve been the dirt...with the weight. Another 250 soles. PLUS 70 SOLES LABOUR. Now I´m getting completely ripped off. Thats 300.00 to change a chain and sprocket. El Salvador did it for 80.00. Colombia never charged me labour. These places were kind, considerate, helpful. Lima is none of that. Im not fond of Limians, not one bit. And they took 5 hours to put it on. 5 hours of waiting, I get my bike, and my chain is taught to its maximum. Not even put on right. I had to take it back to hotel, and properly fit it. What am I paying for. For more spending fun, I broke down and bought an external hard drive to back up all the pics ands vids as me and Nik are splitting soon. Another 200 soles. And finally, my camera charger blew on me again, so I bought a universal charger that hopefully is doing its job right now. All in all, 400.00 spent today. Today is a bad day.
So all in all, I have two pleasant things to say about Lima.
1. The sunsets are the most beautiful Ive seen in my life.
2. The prosperous parts of Lima and historical sections are really well put together, beautiful structures, reminds me of New Orleans.
|The Lima sunset|
But other than that, Im outta here first thing. Lets get to Nazca, hopefully well find some nice people not trying to take all my money.